2022 Winner

SilverBranding Within Boundaries

Truss Beverage
"Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet"
Agnostic

CASE SUMMARY

Truss Beverage is a Canadian cannabis beverage company that offers one of the widest portfolios of cannabis-infused beverages (CIB). Since launching in 2020, Truss has not only established the category, but solidified itself as the leader within this new space.

Due to heavy regulations that the cannabis industry faces, communicating with consumers and informing them on where to purchase and learn more about CIB has been a challenge. Many are unaware that beverages are sold in cannabis stores, which has been a significant barrier to purchase and impacted sales.

Despite retailers being the only regulated environment where Canadians can learn about CIB in-person, they continue to be subject to stricter regulations than other age-gated industries, like alcohol (i.e. limitations around the volume of product purchased at once, product promotion at retail).

With retailers reopening following a COVID-19 lockdown, Truss saw an opportunity to drive in-store CIB sales at the start of summer. To achieve this, they needed to educate consumers on where to purchase CIB, encouraging them to visit their local cannabis store without mainstream advertising or sampling.

Recent market research showed that 1 in 4 consumers reported seeing CIB as an alternative to alcohol, making it critical to position cannabis beverages as being another adult-beverage option to choose from, and thus cannabis retailers as another place to purchase adult-beverages.

Leveraging consumers’ familiarity with alcohol retailer, the LCBO, they asked consumers to reimagine their local cannabis store as a Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet, to demonstrate that just like the LCBO, cannabis retailers sell drinks too - they’re just a different kind.

To launch this campaign, Truss partnered with Miss Jones Cannabis to transform one of its Toronto storefronts into a pop-up Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet, built to resemble a typical LCBO down to the green colouring. From June 22-27, the storefront offered a powerful visual of the similarities between the two stores, driving home the message that consumers can purchase beverages at cannabis stores too.

In tandem with the consumer activation, a press release was distributed to gain media attention and spark conversation amongst the industry. This was accompanied by media outreach featuring a timelapse video of the storefront build that was also amplified across social channels. An exclusive interview with Scott Cooper, Truss’ CEO, on the campaign’s purpose was also published on BNN Bloomberg the morning of launch. To sustain momentum, they continued to coordinate interviews with a mix of C-level executives from Truss and Miss Jones to leverage the business, marketing and retail angles.

Although the campaign primarily targeted consumers, it was also initiated to show support for retailers.

In addition to partnering with Miss Jones, Truss put the call out for retailers to join the collective effort by sending out hundreds of decals that read: ‘Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet’ and ‘We sell drinks too’ to be placed in store windows to indicate their participation. This not only allowed us to involve retailers outside of Ontario, but extend the campaign beyond launch week.

Their primary objective was to educate consumers on where to purchase cannabis beverages to help drive in-store CIB sales in a highly regulated environment. The OCS reported that CIB sales were only 2% of the total cannabis market, but to more accurately measure whether this campaign had an impact on CIB sales, they used the Miss Jones Osgoode location as a benchmark to compare sales before
and after the one-week activation.

During the activation, the store reported an increase from 4.4% to 16.7% CIB sales out of total cannabis sales. More importantly, sales continued to experience a 3.5% uplift (at 7.7% CIB sales) in
the weeks following the activation.

With over 50 articles featuring the story, the response from consumers and the industry was overwhelmingly positive, and by August, Truss had distributed “We Sell Drinks Too” decals to 1200 retailers (48% of all licensed retailers in Canada at that time). Participation on social media also skyrocketed, with retailers sharing 280 organic posts about Truss’ campaign - 190% more than Truss’ monthly average.

By taking on the LCBO to compare CIB and alcohol, they created a compelling news hook that sparked an industry-wide conversation, solidifying Truss not only as the Canadian leader in CIB with a 52.9% market share by July 31, but as an innovative disruptor that challenges traditional perceptions
to grow the category as a whole.

Credits

Lori Hatcher, Head of Commercial, Truss Beverage Co.
Chaman Sandhu, Brand Management Lead, Truss Beverage Co.
Sarah Crabbe, President, Agnostic
Kate Nishida, Director, Agnostic
Summer Martin, Senior Account Manager, Agnostic
Emily O'Rourke, Account Manager, Agnostic
Amanda Swinhoe, Account Manager, Agnostic
Samantha Campana, Senior Director, Agnostic
Megan Harper, Account Executive, Agnostic,
Dan Moseley, Head of Client Service, We Are Social
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